Quechee, VT – This summer, there are new live animal education programs at the VINS Nature Center! We are so excited to diversify the types of interactive experiences we offer visitors, all while maintaining an expert level of care and training for our collection of ambassador animals. Beginning June 17, visitors will enjoy new and long-running favorite programs throughout the summer months.
As in years past, the highlight of the summer is our Predators of the Sky program, which will run at 11:00 am and 3:00 pm. Featuring several of our ambassador birds of prey this unforgettable experience focuses on raptors’ unique adaptations to our local habitats, and how conserving habitat benefits all species—including humans. Our flighted ambassadors show off their natural behaviors, sometimes soaring right over the audience’s heads!
Added to the program schedule this summer is a guided tour of VINS’s newest exhibit, the Songbird Aviary. Our volunteer docents help visitors see and identify the fourteen resident birds that call this beautiful walk-through aviary home. Not only are the birds themselves on display, but a variety of native plantings that benefit wild bird populations, and from which visitors take inspiration to make a songbird-friendly garden in their own backyard. This program happens at 12:30 pm all summer.
Don’t think we’ve forgotten about our resident reptiles! We’re making 10:30 am Turtle Picnic Time every day, where visitors can get an up-close look and an in-depth understanding of two native turtles as they munch on their breakfasts in the sunshine. Then at 2:00 pm, our regular Animal Encounter morphs into a Reptile Rendezvous featuring our turtle and snake ambassadors. Visitors learn from our passionate experts about the critical role these creatures play in our environment.
Raptor Feeding Time is back this summer after a brief hiatus–have no fear, the raptors were always getting fed! We invite visitors to join one of our knowledgeable avian caregivers at 2:30 pm every day as they distribute diets to our 25 resident birds of prey, and explore the habits and history of each one of these special individuals.
Finally, visitors can round out their day at VINS with what’s certainly our most exciting experience yet—watching one of our Harris’s Hawks weave through the trees on the Forest Canopy Walk! Our new “Hawk on the Walk” program invites visitors to accompany our bird trainers on a stroll around this elevated, accessible walkway, observing the flight skills of a master of the sky up close. We hope visitors can’t wait to join us in the treetops for this free-flight adventure, happening Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 3:00 pm, then 3:45 pm after June 17, weather permitting.